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tv   Weekend News  Al Jazeera  February 14, 2016 9:00am-9:31am EST

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turkey continues attacks on kurdish fighters inside syria, hours after the u.s. asks ankara to stop. you're watching al jazeera live from our headquarters in doha. also coming up, the death of conservative supreme court justice anto antonin scalia overshadows a presidential debate. why are more and more civilians being killed in afghanistan no we have a full report. hope for a return to peace as voting begins in the central african republic to elect a new
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leader. we begin in northern syria where turkey shelled kurdish fighters. ankara wants y.p.g. to withdraw from near its border. the u.s. and kurdish allies refusing to give up their gains. >> the syrian government offensive in the northern country side of aleppo enters its third week. pressure continues on the opposition forces on the ground. heavy russian airstrikes throughout the day targeting the last remaining stronghold of rebel force forces, the pressure continues, the syrian government trying to achieve two objectives in aleppo, one is to encircle the rebel controlled east of the
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city. they are close to that. they are just a few kilometers away from laying siege to the neighborhoods inside that city and trying to reach the border towards turkey, so heavy airstrikes, the opposition facing pressure not just from the skies. it is facing many enemies on the ground. you have the syrian government, as well as their allies, fighters from the lebanese movement hezbollah as well as from iran and iraq and now the y.p.g., the kurdish armed group and its allies are closing in on rebel-controlled areas. >> the battle for syria's northern corridor, opposition groups are still holding out being targeted by russian jets. the ground forces are a few kilometers away and r.p.g., kurdish armed forces approaching from the east. turkey stepped in and shelled
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positions of the y.p.g. and allies. it's not just a message to a group turkey calls a terrorist organization, it's an attempt to force it to retreat from recently captured territories close to the border. >> the y.p.g. will immediately withdraw from the surrounding area and will not go close to it again. it will not attempt to shut their corridor ever again. it will not have delusions of using the base to attack the opposition. >> over recent days, the y.p.g. and allies captured ground from syrian armed groups backed about by ankara, taking advantage of the russian push backed up by jets across aleppo province. the u.s. allied to the y.p.g. called on the kurds to stop taking ground, but the group said it doesn't plan to retreat. >> we recently captured the air
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base. our aim is to reach isil territories. turkey wants us to retreat. this won't happen. >> the advances by both the government and the y.p.g. are putting pressure on the opposition. many observers believe the y.p.g. which is drawn from syrian kurds is linked to the p.k.k., the kurdistan workers party in turkey. syrian opposition knows that alliances could be shifting. >> we have been stabbed in the back in the northern countryside where the p.k.k. and its ally took advantage of the fact that we were fighting on two fronts against the regime and isil. >> a new front has been opened in an already complicated war. >> turkey wants regime change in syria and wants to prevent a kurdish state created along its border. it wants a safe zone along the syrian side of the border to serve as a buffer to protect its interests. the international community has not accept that had demand.
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turkey's latest actions serve as a message that it will stand by its red lines. >> for the government, one of those lines is a rebel controlled town a few kilometers from the border. turkish officials promised to protect it which is home for thousands of displaced syrians. for now, ankara has few options, because russia controls the skies. saudi arabia's foreign minister once again accused the syrian government of bombing civilians. riyadh offered to send in ground forces into syria to take on isil but has left the final decision on when that will happen to the u.s. led coalition. >> the syrian regime has to open the way for the humanitarian support and aid immediately, and the syrian regime has to stop the military attacks against the
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civilians, including the bomb barrels that are being used. this has to be stopped immediately. the syrian regime has to be involved in the political process in order to start the political transitional period in syria. while syria's opposition coordinator called for an end to the violence to allow real change to happen in syria, according to him, the former syrian prime minister was speaking at a conference in munich. >> we have gotten used to conferences and words put into hope, but what we need is action, and action is that i see is that russia is killing syrian civilians. you ask me if i accept the ceasefire or cessation of hostilities, i ask you why is the onus on the opposition and whether it has preconditions for negotiations? i would like to see a single day of a cessation of hostilities in order to give a chance for real
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political movement. >> armed groups in iraq are involved in renewed fighting outside of tikrit, a town that was controlled by isil. the fighting is concentrated on neighboring oil fields and iraqi forces say they are coming umped more attacks each day. imran kahn reports from back dad. >> in april, predominantly shia militias announced they had taken tikrit. today just outside that city, this his the scene. isil mounts attacks on the oil fields. the battle over tikrit is crucial to iraqi forces and their advance towards mosul, iraq's second largest city, controlled by isil. it is an important hub on the main highway leading to baghdad. the oil fields produce up to 25,000-barrels a day with iraq's economy plummeting, that is crucial. isil hasn't managed to take control of the oil fields but is
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proving to be a difficult foe for the iraqis. >> every day, we have an attack by isil. you can see them over there. they are using suicide car bombers and motorcycles. yesterday, we had a suicide motorcycle across the canyon, but we managed to repel the attack. >> further north from tikrit, overin kirkuk province, isil is firmly in control of the town. some residents managed to flee. others remain trapped. the escape wasn't easy. >> we left in a hurry with total fear. we had to walk through farms to avoid discovery by isil. we managed to escape and thank god, we left. >> the civilians have fled. with isil mounting tabes on oil fields, how long they will be safe there is not clear. >> there's no doubt isil fighters are taking advantage of the fact that the iraqi army is stretched and fighting on
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multiple fronts. the iraqi army says that these remnants of fighters mounting attacks on the country side of simply isil's last stand and they will be dealt with soon. a united nations report says more than 11,000 civilians have been killed or injured in afghanistan in 2015. that is a 4% increase on the previous year. we have this report from kabul. >> more civilians were killed or injured in fightinging afghanistan last year than at any time since u.s. and international forces invaded in 2001. the bleak statistic released in the u.n.'s latest report on civilian casualties in afghanistan. according to the report, more than 11,000 civilians were killed or injured in 2015. among those casualties, more than 3,500 died. the u.n. report blamed the taliban and other anti-government forces for 62% have the casualties.
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17% of the deaths and injuries were caused by afghan and international forces. nicholas, the head of u.n.'s assistance mission in afghanistan told a news conference here he wants all parties to the fighting to make an effort not to harm civilians. >> until we have a peace agreement, we must call on all those parties engaged in the conflict who have it within their power to reduce the number of civilians casualties to commit to taking every step that will avoid harm and injury to civilians. >> the report comes as the afghan government is pushing to negotiate with taliban factions who want peace while promises to fight those who don't. the record number of civilian casualty that is coincides with an increase in afghan casualties injects another element of
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insecurity. al jazeera, kabul. one of the u.s. supreme court's most conservative members has died. justin antonin scalia was 79. his death has the potential to shift the balance of power in the court. the appointment for his successor will sit firmly at the center of the election campaign. we are joined from washington, d.c., we'll talk about his possible successor but first tell us about the reaction this morning over in washington and the states on scalia's death. >> the reaction has been pretty expected. republicans are saying that president obama should wait to not appoint a successor to scalia, that that should be the decision of the next president. obama of course says that's not going to happen. he is constitutionally empowered to name the next in my knee and he's going to do that. the senate majority leader who sets the agenda for the u.s. senate which confirms judicial nominees said the president
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should not be making at a decision. there's a rewriting of history. that senator in 2005 said exactly the opposite. he said that the president and the president alone nominates judges, and that the senate should just give them an up or down vote. the average time it takes to nominate and confirm supreme court justice is about 74 days. president obama has 11 months left in his term, leaving plenty of time to do that. that's what ronald reagan did in 1988, got the confirmation of anthony kennedy. democrats are going to push hard on that, but it will be a battle. the republicans do have the numbers to block any vote in the senate. the option for president obama to avoid that might be to nominate a consensus candidate, somebody that would be acceptable to both sides, but both parties have moved to the extremes in recent years, and that makes it a difficult bridge
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to gap. suffice it to say that now in this election year in 2016, all three branches of the u.s. government are in play, now including the courts. >> all right john, thank you for that update in washington. also coming up, hundred was palestinian traveling to gaza's border for egypt after it's open for just two days. >> i'm jonah hull with the soldiers of oudin protecting they say the citizens here from refugees.
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the top stories on al jazeera, turkey shelled kurdish held positions in northern syria. ankara wants y.p.g. fighters and allies to withdraw. the u.s. backed group refuses to retreat. more than 11,000 civilians have been killed or injured in afghanistan in 2015. most of the deaths were caused by groups opposed to the government, including the taliban. u.s. supreme court justice antonin scalia died at the age of 79. controversy over who will replace them dominate the presidential candidate debates. in haiti, an interim leader has been chosen to replace the former president to load a
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caretaker government, an agreement reached with the opposition proposes a new presidential election in april. this all follows violent protests. we are joined live from port-au-prince to tell us whether the appointment of this interim leader has quelled the protests in haiti. what more do we know about him? >> it's still early to know exactly reactions here. we still haven't seen celebrations or demonstrations so far. what i can tell you is that many here say this is a big victory for those who have been on the streets for weeks, demanding a changing power in this country for people who have basically on saturday we've been seeing people showing their support for the president, because even though the opposition has been divided here and some didn't support this whole process at all, what united all of them was basically that they wanted in
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power interim president that has nothing to do with former president. prevert was interior minister during the government, he considered himself a political prisoner of the u.s. backed interim government that came to power after the out of thing of president. he was the president of the senate, very close to the former president and has the support of one of the strongest parties in the country that has widespread support among the power. he is setting a path that the main priority is to foster confidence between all sectors of society and stability so elections can be called as soon as possible. >> speaking of the elections meant to be called on soon, are there any preparations now underway for these elections? >> this is a very big issue
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here. as prevert has said in the past, one of the first things he is going to do is reformle electoral council after the allegations of fraud that happened during the elections back in october. he also said that it is going to be that even though the leks tentatively scheduled to take place on april 24, he is saying that electoral council that is going to confirm this day. there are lots of calls for people to run an investigation about the fraud that allegedly occurred on october election ins 2005, but this is a very important issue, also, because amongst the opposition is a group, the g8 that has been opposing this whole pros, the election of the interim president, all along. one of the reasons that worries them very much is that an interim president could stay for a longer period of time, something that has happened in haiti's past. the calling for elections immediately could also be a problem, because former members of the electoral council said
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haiti is not ready to holt elections immediately and needs at least nine months for this election to take place. >> thank you for that update. voters in central african republic are choosing between two prime ministers in a run off vote being held after two years of fighting in christian and muslim communities. >> there was frustration with delays and long lines of voters in the presidential runoff election in central african republic. poll stations did open on time. they were busy. in the first round in december, turnout had been strong with nearly 80%. that was seen as a rejection by voters of the violence that has split the country on reege grounds. sunday's vote was also a rerun of the parliamentary election in december. its results were annulled due to irregularities. >> i hope we'll finish with these problems once and for all and we'll have a good lieu of in
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the end. >> in 2013, france sent troops to try to restore order after mainly muslim selica fighters topple would the president. christian fighters responded by attacking the muslim meyerty community. thousands of people have been killed. one in five has fled. two christians are facing off as candidates in the runoff ballot. the first promised to tackle production. another said he'll bring in investments, both are former prime ministers. whoever wins will extend authority beyond the capital. muslims hold the east, christians hold sway in the southwest. according to human rights watch, the grenade is cheaper than a can of coke. bernard smith, al jazeera. finland's government announced that it will deport
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20,000 refugees. finland has struggled to deal with the number of people heading there. there is unease among this locals. some have formed a vigilante group they say to protect people from refugees. we have this report. >> named after a norse god of war, the soldiers of oudin take their self appointed mission seriously, practicing the streets of towns, keeping women and children safe from refugees. >> about 80% of the refugees are men of fighting age. to me, it doesn't look like they need help. >> back in their clubhouse in the woods, they insist they are just concerned citizens, though the nazi paraphernalia paraphernalia suggest otherwise. >> we only use violence to of the defend ourselves.
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it's far more likely than not that asylum seekers will be turned down. >> the main thing is to make good picture for refugees. we are good and helping and we are good people. >> he helped hundred was refugees who crowded into this concert haul before formal centers were established. he regrets the change in mood. >> i've heard hundred was stories are why they come. some are true, share lies, but who has the right to decide? that makes me sad especially as a christian. we should help all people. >> as the public mood seems to be hardening here in finland towards the refugees, it seems
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that the prime minister himself has been forced into his own about-turn, having said that refugees were welcome to come and stay here in this country house in the north of the country, he's now said they can't. ostensibly for security reasons. >> the house is said to be too public. as a refugee center, the tightening controls are sinking in. >> society have some good people and bad people, even refugees, there is good people and there is other people. >> will you respect if it comes to it, a decision to send you home? >> they send us back, i will respect that, but, you know, we will face death there. yeah. >> you have to wonder why they'd want to live in the freezing cold anyway. such is the desire for safety. jonah hall, al jazeera, finland. a 5.7 magnitude rocked the
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city of christchurch in new zealand. vehicles could be shaking the driveways. a magnitude six quake killed 85 people at the time. hundreds of palestinians traveled to the border to the gas border with egypt. it's open for the first time this year for just two days until monday. more than 25,000 people hope to use the crossing, including some with medical conditions needing urgent attention. only a fraction of that number have been given approximater mission to cross. we have this report. >> they've been waiting for days, and some even for years to get out of gaza. now some palestinians have been able to leave the gaza strip, butten that more still wait and hope. egypt rarely opens its border crossing with gaza. it was sealed after the egyptian military took control in 2013. >> we have over 25,000
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registered humanitarian cases in the gaza strip. our best estimate that is 1,000 will get to travel during these two days, meaning there will be 24,000 people in need of help still suffering. >> this teenager is in need of medical attention. he lost both legs during the conflict in gaza in 2014. more than 2200 palestinians were killed during the 51 day war. thousands more were injured. >> he needs surgeries and therapy. we've been trying to get help for more than a year. we've been applying for permits and renewing them. >> nearly half of gasses are unemployed. they rely on human help to get by. for some, their only help is to leave. >> i am a student and today my visa ends. i used to of a resident visa in at her key. all of this is because of the
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rafah crossing closing. what can i do? >> in 2007, hamas took control of the trim from fatah. egypt and israel both regard them as a terrorist organization. >> i've been trying to travel since last year for eight months. i live in saudi arabia and i almost lost my job because i haven't been able to go back. >> those who don't get out of gaza this time have to face the harsh reality that they're freedom of movement is decided by others. al jazeera. some saudi arabian independent movie makers are creating a buzz at the berlin film festival with a love story filmed entirely in their home country. it is a relationship developing in the public spaces of a conservative society.
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>> boy meets girl, boy tries to date girl, but this is saudi arabia and the challenges are enormous. in fact, that's sort of the point. despite it being presented as a quirky comedy at the berlin film festival. so you had has become so much limited in the face of young, the liberals, the more progressive, the women, the minorities, they are less visible in the streets. no one wants to watch a film in public space. i had to make a love story and then, you know, in the background, there is the story of the city, of public space. >> if you're wondering just how much interest there is in the film, have a look at this. it's a complete sellout as the film gets its international premier. >> the young saudi team who made the film financed it themselves because there is no movie
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industry in saudi arabia. apart from getting around the censors, they had to constantly explain what they were doing. >> i had to explain it was another character. when someone walking down the street or driving by recognized me, they wouldn't recognize me as b.b., they would recognize fatima and say what are you doing here? >> the movie which has got a great reaction here is careful to show traditional saudi culture in a positive light but doesn't pull its punches about society's problems. >> i was surprised about how in your face it was, how likely it dealt with very, very serious matter. >> to make a movie were a certain critique to the culture. this is what i think is not so
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easy to do. >> they have done it against all the odds and they hope they can inspire more sawed movie makers to do the same. al jazeera, berlin. >> much more on that story and the day's other stories on our website, aljazeera.com. incredible science in the lab usually means this. it can be controversial, it can also be extremely beneficial. >> just like that, i'm genetically modified the mosquitos that carry two